As Malaysians age, state-of-the-art nursing home in PJ aims to uplift standards of eldercare

Raymond Low (left) is currently recuperating in The Mansion following surgery for intestine cancer. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa
Raymond Low (left) is currently recuperating in The Mansion following surgery for intestine cancer. — Pictures by Yusof Mat Isa

PETALING JAYA, Dec 24 — From the outside, The Mansion at Sri Aman looks like any other beautiful bungalow tucked in the heart of Petaling Jaya.

With its resort-like atmosphere, many would be surprised to find out that it’s a home for the elderly providing round-the-clock care and companionship for aging Malaysians.

One of its residents Raymond Low described the place as “feeling like home”.

“My wife is working and she was worried about leaving me alone at home because I just had an operation and I can’t really take care of myself.

“She was checking around for similar nursing homes and this was the best place that she could find for me.

“It’s nice because I can watch television and exercise here. I’m trying to build up my muscles and gain back some weight so I can walk properly again,” the 70-year-old told Malay Mail.

Surrounded by lush landscaping and the sound of trickling water from the fountains, the home’s interior blends seamlessly with its greenery to give residents like Low a peaceful respite when they need it the most.

It’s not unusual for those living at The Mansion to heal rather quickly after surgery, thanks to the home’s conducive and serene atmosphere.
It’s not unusual for those living at The Mansion to heal rather quickly after surgery, thanks to the home’s conducive and serene atmosphere.

CARE Concierge, the homegrown start-up behind The Mansion, aims to revolutionise eldercare in Malaysia and reach out to seniors like Low who require quality assistance as they head into their golden years.

Their efforts are timely as a 2018 study by Universiti Malaya’s Social Wellbeing Research Centre found that 6.3 million Malaysians will be aged 60 and above by 2040, making up 20 per cent of the population.

This means Malaysia is slowly but surely becoming a grey-haired nation, yet many people are still unaware of the eldercare services that are available.

Eldercare options are more varied than you think

The communal areas offer plenty of space where residents can engage in social activity.
The communal areas offer plenty of space where residents can engage in social activity.

“Many people assume that if they can’t take care of someone, they’ll have to send the senior to a nursing home and they envision a squalid version of that.

“What we’re trying to do is educate society on the options available and the services that we can provide,” said CARE Concierge chief executive officer Martin Yap.

The Mansion can accommodate 28 residents and provides a tranquil space for seniors to relax, exercise, and take part in recreational activities such as art class and mahjong games.

Yap, who is an architect by training, explained that the layout was planned specifically to foster a sense of community amongst residents.

While bedrooms are cosy and private, the living areas and communal spaces are designed to draw seniors out to engage in group activities and social interaction that help boost their well-being.

By using technology such as tracking sensors, geo-fencing, and Bluetooth devices, staff members can also monitor the safety of the occupants without infringing on their independence and free movement.

The future of caregiving

Residents have their own bedrooms which they can personalise according to their taste.
Residents have their own bedrooms which they can personalise according to their taste.

Yap hopes that The Mansion can be a showcase not just for clients seeking quality care in an assisted living facility, but also for family members who may feel more comfortable having their relatives age in place at home.

As the life expectancy of the population increases, independent living units (ILU), also known as retirement villages for set in apartment-style buildings or housing co-ops, are set to become more common in Malaysia.

Yap and the CARE Concierge team are ready to tackle changes in the eldercare industry by providing trained caregivers and nurses to both ILUs and seniors who wish to stay in the comfort of their own home.

“Many people are surprised at the option to have a caregiver come to their home because it solves a lot of the problems they were initially facing.

“We put a lot of thought into what we are building and go beyond the minimum standards that are required.

“At the end of the day, we are caring for someone’s family member and friend so we need to set a high bar for ourselves.”

The Mansion at Sri Aman is a follow-up to CARE Concierge’s facility on Jalan Gasing, which also provides specialised care in a spacious bungalow with beautiful landscaping.

* Claire Roberts contributed to this report.

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